Thursday, December 11, 2008

Traffic Nightmare Continues on Grand Avenue

By Conor Greene

Frustrated that their calls for safety upgrades at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 64th Street in Maspeth have fallen on deaf ears, members of the Juniper Park Civic Association recently met with reporters at the site to draw attention to the problem.

The issue, according to the civic, is that the city Department of Transportation has prematurely moved forward with a project that will combine two small traffic triangles at the intersection into one large one.

While the civic association supports that project, its members say that the city should have first implemented the Maspeth Truck Bypass Plan, which would have rerouted truck traffic off the neighborhood’s commercial area.

However, the DOT is still performing studies on the Truck Bypass Plan, according to a spokeswoman. As a result, large trucks and buses are unable to navigate a tight “S” curve at the construction site to continue on Grand Avenue. Since there is not enough room for large vehicles to turn, they are forced to drive over the sidewalk, posing a danger to pedestrians, along with causing thousands of dollars of property damage.

“We feel that we’re now seeing the effects of them… not listening to the people in the community who know how the traffic flows and how dangerous the intersection is,” said Christina Wilkinson, JPCA secretary.

“This new plan… is a total disaster, and DOT is asleep at the wheel once again,” added JPCA President Robert Holden.

According to the DOT, the construction project should be completed by the end of the week. However, the civic association is now threatening to block traffic at the intersection if truck traffic isn’t rerouted in the near future.

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